Concerned over poor outcomes in the treatment of cancer in adolescents and young adults, Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) is, for the first time, setting up a separate wing to treat patients from this sensitive age group.
According to TMH officials, a special wing will be created at the Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, the state-of-the-art research-and-development satellite of Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), of which TMH, Asia’s largest cancer hospital, is a part.
Teenage and young adult cancer patients between the ages 15 and 25 will be admitted at the new wing in ACTREC. As per the plan, everything will be available under one roof for the treatment of just this specific group — including dedicated wards, doctors, counselors and social workers.
“The outcome in this age group is very poor. Despite good doctors and treatment, this group of patients either don’t take their medicines, or leave chemo or radiotherapy midway and never return,” Dr Shripad Banavali, head of paediatric oncology, told Mirror.
“Also, when we keep this age group of patients with adults, they get scared that that they will never be cured. I remember a case where a 16-year-old girl suffering from blood cancer refused to take chemotherapy because she said that that she would look ugly afterwards as she would lose her hair, and her friends would find out that she was suffering from cancer. At Tata, we get 10 to 15 per cent cancer cases in this age group,” Banavali said.